Will and Testament meets Fifteen Years in this new novel by Vigdis Hjorth.
She is a grown woman going for a walk in the dark woods, with her safe dog. She’s also a sixteen-year-old. The view the grown woman offers her younger self, is tender and beautiful. It’s about being kissed for the first time, the incredibly clumsy, funny, and painful act of doing it for the first time, it’s about feeling the intoxication spread throughout your body at a party with some boys in a terraced house, about running through the woods to prepare for a marathon, about feeling a huge hunger and thirst in your young life.
All while her mother watches over the young girl like a hawk, her father keeps away and holds a low profile. The father’s distance is notable, the mother’s close watch involves control that is normally unheard of. Because, as the novel reveals on its first page, there is a big and dangerous secret in their house.
Anything you want to forget will come back to you, it will haunt you so vividly that it feels as if you are going through it all over again, often causing you the same overwhelming and unmanageable feelings as the first time; you fear you might die from the intensity and so you fight its return, you resist, but you are not able to prevent or shield yourself from the pain which follows and so you are forced to relive it. However, when it has been re-experienced and relived yet again, when the paralysing pain subsides, you will often find that you have gained a fresh insight into the significance of that particular memory; it was the reason it came back, in order to tell you something.
Why do I write you when I mean me?
«… intense and insistent, so tremulous and pounding that it sometimes is painful to read.»
«... a pain and an intensity that has resulted in a condensed masterpiece.»
DAGBLADET, six/six stars
«Ah. How she writes, Vigdis Hjorth. […] Who can as Vigdis Hjorth write a novel in 143 pages, so hauntingly vivid about a 16-year-old girl - about her demanding life in a divided family.»
«As a novel it is great and intense writing, the best of Vigdis Hjorth.»
VG, six/six stars
«Vigdis Hjorth has always been good at describing the hope, despair and loneliness of teenage girls, how awkward one is in both emotions and in practice. She is also good here.»
ADRESSEAVISEN, five/six stars
Repetition is amongst her decidedly strongest
«What's the point of the repetition – to write about mother's control and a failed sexual debut - once again? The question is incorrectly posed. There is not just one point here. Repetition, the novel, and the content of the title itself, the repetition, overflow with new, fresh points. Something urgent is still at play.»
«Vigdis Hjorth strips the narrative free of unnecessary slag, and makes the 16-year-old in her shine.»
Blows the reader away
«… it wouldn’t surprise me if this novel remains as a highlight from the book year 2023.»
Sometimes one has to repeat oneself
«Vigdis Hjorth wrties with an unmatched power about trauma, truth and story-telling.»